Special Olympics day to become school-wide day of service


Megan Barton

Cheering on her buddy, senior Julia DeFrank watches as her athlete shoots the basket. “She enjoyed the day, and that was awesome because they said last year she was nervous to even go into the gym,” DeFrank said.

Claire Smout, Awards Coordinator

Last school year, over 500 students volunteered in Special Olympics. Although more students applied, the administration had to cap the number of participants because of space issues. This year, as a solution, the day will become a school-wide day of service.

“Not everyone could do Special Olympics and it was a wasted day for teachers, so we wanted to get all of West involved in some sort of service,” publicity officer and co-event coordinator MJ Stricker said.

On Feb. 12, freshmen will be hearing from speakers who are involved in various community service projects, cheering for Special Olympics and doing small service projects around campus. Five hundred upperclassmen will be able to participate in Special Olympics on a first come first serve basis. The sophomores and the remaining upperclassmen will go off campus to volunteer at an organization of their choice.

“The changes were made to maximize the impact Parkway students can have on our region. We wanted to provide the opportunity for our students to fill leadership roles, volunteer roles and gain a better understanding of the needs in the St. Louis metropolitan area,” senior class principal Dr. Kate Piffel said.

Students have already researched various organizations where they can serve during the September and October common ground meetings. During the November common ground, students will get to rank their first four choices and will later be assigned to a group for the day.

“I think the way they have changed the day is a wonderful idea. I believe everyone should give back to their community,” Stricker said. “If one person can make the difference in five other people’s lives, and those people each change five other people, it creates this chain reaction of kindness and makes a difference for everyone.”

Student body vice president Nicole Wang, who volunteers at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, also recognizes the importance of serving the community.

“I just think it is important to get out of your comfort zone and see what is out in the community and especially coming from West county there is more to our city than what we often see going on,” Wang said.

Administrators, teachers and students are still working hard to make the details come together so it can be a successful day.

“No matter our age, we can positively impact a child, an organization, a neighborhood, or an individual,” Piffel said. “We believe all West High kids will experience the feeling that comes with making a difference in these ways.”